As some of you may know, I volunteer at Meals on Wheels every Tuesday morning. One of the perks of donating two hours each week is that I sometimes take home a meal, when there are extras, and I often get a bag of bread loaf ends, that would otherwise get thrown out. I was talking with Rhonda, our Meals on Wheels kitchen coordinator extraordinaire (among other good things), and she recommended that I turn them into breadcrumbs. I only started taking the ends last week and I’ve just been eating them, making breadcrumbs is so much more exciting!
Homemade Bread Crumb Recipe
I feel silly calling it a recipe because it’s really really easy. All you do is take your bread and make them on a baking sheet at 300 degrees for ten or fifteen minutes. Halfway through, flip them so each side gets dried out evenly. You don’t want to burn them, just toast a bit of the moisture out. Once their nice and toasty, remove them, break them up a little, and put them in your food processor. Give it a bunch of pulses until you get it to the consistency you like.
On what bread to use: Use anything. Mix it all together. Once it gets turned into bread crumbs, you won’t really notice that it was wheat, white, rye, whatever; because the pieces will be pretty small.
Adding in some spices: Rhonda said she turns them into breadcrumbs, adds in some spices, and sometimes gives them as little gifts. I think you can get very creative with breadcrumbs. Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, and anything your mind can think of. I’ve read recipes that include soup mixes too (which are pretty much powdered chicken/beef stock and some spices).
Here are a few other tips:
- Make it in big batches: We made five pieces (bread ends) worth last night for our Chicken Parm breading but the cleanup is the same as if we had made an entire loaf (washing out the food processor and the baking tray).
- Add the spices into the processor, rather than tossing it in yourself: I was going to mix it all by hand after I pulverized the bread crust but then my brain actually kicked in and I put it in the food processor as I blended. I know it sounds obvious but it wasn’t obvious to me at first!
- The more moisture left in the bread, the larger the pieces: If you like varying size breadcrumbs, you can leave some of the moisture in the bread and the crumbs will be of varying size. The more moist areas will stick together whereas the dry areas will break into powder very easily.
- Let the bread cool a little: Unless you’ve managed to get all the moisture out, moisture will still emanate from the bread until it cools. This will cause a small headache in the food processor as the smaller bread particles stick to the wall of the processing bin because of the moisture in the air.
- Get creative: Part of the fun of making your own stuff is experimenting!
Now I feel silly buying breadcrumbs (much like I felt silly buying Boboli pizza crusts!). Ever make your own homemade bread crumbs?
(Photo: collinanderson )